Brownlow North (2)

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At the Free Church General Assembly of 1859 the Moderator, Principal, William Cunningham, addressed Brownlow North on behalf of the Assembly saying, 'Mr North, I have great pleasure and heartfelt satisfaction in announcing to you that I have been called, by unanimous decision of this house, to recognise and welcome you as a servant of Jesus Christ who has received unusual gifts for preaching the glad tidings of great joy and whose work in this department the Lord has greatly honoured......'. It's a fascinating speech. In welcoming North he states there should always be room in Presbyterian circles for exceptional cases. However, it is the first two points of Brownlow North's reply that I want to give to you. After some opening remarks he states...

''I believe there are four special things for which God is very angry with the land, and for which His Holy Spirit is so little among us. First, the neglect of united prayer - the appointed means of bringing down the Holy Spirit. I say it, because I believe it, that the Scotch, with all their morality, so called, and their outward decency, respectability, and love of preaching, are not a praying people. Sirs, is not this the truth? The neglect of prayer proves to my mind that there is a large amount of practical infidelity. If people believed that there was a real, existing, personal God, they would ask Him for what they wanted, and they would get what they asked. But they do not ask, because they do not believe or expect to receive. Why do I say this? Because I want to get Christians to remember that, though preaching is one of the great means appointed by God for the conversion of sinners, yet, unless God give the increase, Paul may plant and Apollos may water in vain; and God says He will be inquired of. O Ministers excuse me, you gave me this chance of speaking, - urge upon your people to come to the prayer meeting. O Christians, go to more prayer meetings than you do. And when you go to the prayer meeting, try and realise more that there is use in prayer.

Secondly, I do not believe that there is a more effective system in Christendom for the promotion of true religion that the Presbyterian system, if it was carried out.  But the machinery is not worked. Look at the mass of elders there are in the Presbyterian Church. But what are these elders doing as a body? Blessed be God, there are many holy, self denying, godly men, who seek not their own things, but the things which are Jesus Christ's and who go into the lanes and alleys of cities, and pray and speak, and try to lead people to God. But do the elders, as a body do that? I believe there are elders - it is possible there may be such in this very Assembly - who know that God, who searcheth their hearts, sees they never make a single attempt to do anything for the glory of Jesus Christ, and such must give account to God at the last day.''

North made two more pleas; one for ministers and elders to take their vows seriously in that they truly enter the ministry to promote the salvation of souls and lastly a plea for more personal work in talking to people in private as to the state of their souls.

p86-88, Brownlow North - His life and work, K Moody Stuart, Banner of Truth, 1963
Posted September 4, 2013 @ 4:24 AM by Paul Levy

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